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A Soft War Against the Church: Reading Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code as a Didactic Novel

Noor Kadhoum Jawad, Hassan Qanood Jabir and Arkan Naser Hussain

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 29, Issue 2, June 2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.29.2.11

Keywords: Bible, Christianity, church, didactic, Da Vinci, Jesus, Magdalene

Published on: 28 June 2021

Many works of literature are devoted to giving readers explicit or implicit instructions or teachings about a philosophy, an ideology, a craft, a lifestyle, or other ends. These works are supposed to entertain and teach and, accordingly, they are labeled as didactic literature. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (DVC) is a highly controversial novel that has been largely debated and discussed because of its content and intended message. In this novel, Brown intentionally presents an alternative understanding to Christianity which is received mostly as heretic and blasphemous. In many occasions, Brown avers that the visions he gave in his DVC are the findings of his research on Christian doctrines and institutions. Thus, they are accurate facts though they are written in a piece of fiction. He also emphasizes that he aims to share newly acquired knowledge with his audience through the pages of his work. This paper is an attempt to study Brown’s DVC as a didactic novel. It ultimately aims to show how Brown manipulated the didactic theory of sugar-coated pill in his DVC to teach Christians about the theology and history of their religion. Adopting a descriptive-analytic method, the study first tackles Brown’s Christian ideology. Then, it analyzes his DVC showing how he used different devices and techniques of didactic novels for the purpose of instructing his readers. The study concludes that DVC is not a mere piece of fiction but a didactic novel that used fiction as a cover to pass historical and theological teachings.

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